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The central tenets of our approach to responsible business are as follows.

  • We have a social and moral responsibility to eliminate discrimination, to promote social mobility, equality and diversity and inclusion across the firm.
  • We are committed to valuing difference and creating an environment where people are recognised for their talent and contribution. This is true regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual orientation
  • We give back by investing social value into the communities in which we live and work
  • We encourage and nurture entrepreneurialism in our people. We also help others to develop their business opportunities within the firm
  • We acknowledge the importance of the health and wellbeing of our people
  • We always support our colleagues through challenging times
  • We are committed to ambitious targets to reduce our impact on the environment, committing to net zero by 2030

These elements form a fundamental part of the firm’s business strategy. They regularly reviewed by the Management Board and are a focus for our Senior Partner.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

As well as our Equality, Diversity and Anti-Discrimination policy, we are a signatory to the Law Society’s Diversity and Inclusion Charter. We have also signed up to ‘Equality North East’ which aims to lead the way to a fairer future for all. We are committed to valuing difference and creating an environment where people are recognised for their talent and contribution rather than their ethnicity, religion or gender. We have reviewed our recruitment policies to ensure we are reaching a wide and diverse pool of applicants, including the use of more web-based tools.

In addition, the issue of diversity and inclusion is one of three core themes for our employment department, which regularly publishes content based around this topic to our clients and contacts. In the last six months we have achieved all of the following.

  • Produced videos with Stonewall on discrimination
  • Hosted webinars with Home Group and  Newcastle City Council on initiatives around creating an inclusive workplace
  • Hosted webinars and published articles discussing diversity and inclusion with businesses recognised for their best practice lead
  • Published content around recognising and responding to unconscious bias
Social value

At Ward Hadaway, we take the delivery of social value seriously. Through our relationships with charities, community projects, sports clubs and our own initiatives, we are determined to have a demonstrable impact on creating better places to live, work and do business.

We have created an area of the website where you can read case studies of some of the projects we have been involved in. These detail the impact they have had on those we have worked with. Click here.

Our volunteering programme ensures that staff donate time and expertise to a range of good causes, non-profit making organisations and community-based bodies. This is evidenced in terms of volunteering days, trusteeships and raising money through firm-wide initiatives.

Career development

We are committed to providing support and encouragement for future generations of lawyers. In terms of skills development and career opportunities, we offer work experience to local people who have an interest in law as a career path. We attend law fairs, host career presentations and workshops, and offer mentoring schemes to undergraduate law students.

Our Link Days connect us with university students who are invited to spend time at our offices. Our two-year training contracts give candidates the opportunity to apply for positions as newly qualified solicitors. We have also created a well-established, six-year apprenticeship programme which leads to an LLB (Hons). Read more in the Join Us section of the site.

Health and wellbeing

We recognise the importance of health and wellbeing and creating an environment in which people feel supported to deliver their best professionally, whilst living their best life personally. We are committed to supporting different approaches to juggling work, family and life responsibilities and helping our people succeed in ways which work for them.

Health and wellbeing is another of the streams of content delivered to clients and contacts by our employment team.  With NPH Group and Wellbeing Works, we were founding members of the Health and Wellbeing group. This has been created to promote the importance of health and wellbeing at a board and senior HR level, aiming to move health and wellbeing up the agenda for businesses. Following a series of physical events, the group moved online in the pandemic. It has recently provided events for hundreds of viewers on resilience and lessons learnt during the pandemic.

Environment

We recently announced that the firm is committed to publish its plans during 2022 for how the firm will achieve net zero, and further committed to achieve net zero status by 2030, twenty years before the Government’s proposed 2050 deadline.

We are reducing our paper usage substantially, already operating paper-lite, with targets to become virtually paperless by 2025.

We are a founding member of the Legal Sustainability Alliance and accredited to ISO14001, to monitor and manage our impact on the environment.

We have joined the Sustainable Recruitment Alliance to reduce the environmental impact on early talent recruitment.

We recycle all possible materials. We encourage our teams to minimise travel, and have put in place the technology to make this possible. We encourage and incentivise use of bikes to work, and are investigating the installation of electric charging points in our car parks.

And we will ensure that we learn from the recent past – a reduction in printing, travel, commuting and electricity use as a result of home working during the pandemic – to create an ongoing flexible working pattern which maintains and secures this into the future.

To find out more about our responsible business strategy, contact our Senior Partner Jamie Martin.

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